- Strategic Industry/Company/Team Transformation Initiative
- Successful Healthcare Technology Sale:
- Sell-side M&A Advising
- Executive Coach
- CEO/ CCO/President/Founder
- Performance Management Implementation
- Technology Startup Adviser
- Leadership/Legacy Training & Development
- Off-site “Legacy Retreat/Camp”
- Commercial (Sales& Marketing) Advising
- Keynote Meeting Speaker
- Board Roles:
- Two Private Company, Three Non-Profit Organizations
About John Wrede
Posts by John Wrede:
I think that it should be obvious by now that a recurring theme of my essays is that insight/wisdom/perspective often occur in moments where we least expect it. While I have written about those moments occurring in a customs line, a car ride with my grandmother, (and a museum in Paris,) I recently had another occur at a rest area on a Florida turnpike.
After a busy morning of customer meetings, I dropped a colleague off at the Orlando airport and began a drive across the state, working my way to West Palm Beach. I was on the phone non-stop, moving from one conference call to another and I found myself in mid-afternoon, having not eaten lunch, and needing a break. I was making good time so instead of the typical drive-thru stop, I decided to go into the McDonald’s to take a break for a few minutes and eat my lunch inside the rest stop. Blackberry in hand, I sat down to eat and catch up on emails.
The restaurant was pretty empty being mid-afternoon, but after a few minutes a grandfather arrived with a handful of grandkids (both boys and girls, maybe 4-7 years old) in tow to buy them an afternoon treat. A collection of ice cream cones and milk shakes arrived and the kids sat down in the booth next to me to devour their sweet treats. My attention was so focused on the kids that I totally missed the middle aged couple that came in to the restaurant, with the man (husband?) heading to the bathroom and the woman (wife?) heading to the counter to order. No one missed the following scene. The woman had the bag of food in her hand as the fellow came out of the bathroom and asked some sort of terse question. Without a reply, she handed over the bag. Upon looking inside, the man shouted “You are so stupid, you never get it right!” and proceeded to smash the bag of newly bought food into trash bin and stomp out of the McDonald’s. The woman looked up to and saw all of us, Grandpa, the grand kids and me, all silently watching her. She shrugged her shoulders, looked into the garbage can, hung her head and walked out of the restaurant.
I thought to myself that the guy was “a total A@#hole” and went back to my blackberry. Grandpa took better action. The kids were still silent from the outburst and he asked them whether they had all seen what that man had just done. All nodded yes. He spoke to the little girls and said to never, never let any man treat them the way that man just treated that woman. He said that too many women put up with too much from “small, mean spirited men” and that it would be better to be alone that to put up with “that nonsense.” He then looked at the boys and asked whether any of them thought the guy was cool or strong. They all shook their heads no. The grandpa finished his “lesson” with a great line when he said “Kids, I’ve lived 71 years and for me, mean never equals good!”
Quietly, the kids finished their treats, threw away their trash and started heading out. The grandpa corralled the kids out to their minivan, and headed off down the turnpike. I sat at my little plastic table and thought completely about my two kids, Bryson and Marie, and how much I wished they had been sitting with that grandpa, and how much I need to find a way to pass that lesson along to them.
While I will certainly use this essay as a way to share the lesson with them, I wanted to share it broadly on two counts. First and most importantly, the grandpa was right, “mean never equals good!” What a simple and clear truth that all of us should remember more consistently. Secondly, what I had intended to be a 15 minute afternoon stop on a Florida turnpike turned out to be a moment of learning and inspiration. Once again, in improbable spots, amazing things continue to occur!
leading teams >
This is an area that I feel deeply about and have worked hard on over the past 25 years. I have had the pleasure to lead a wide variety of teams over my career, and am firmly convinced that you “lead” people and “manage” projects. Leaders must realize that a leadership role is a precious and humbling honor. Effective leaders must consider the complete person of the individuals on their team, always working to influence the “three impact points” of leadership
(the mind, hearts and hands.)
I have written extensively on this topic, but the following essays offer a strong sense of my belief, experiences, and approach in this critical area.
serving customers >
I use the word “serve” with intent in this section. Over the last half of my career, I have had the honor to hold a number of sales leadership roles including Sr. V.P. Retail Sales Coca-Cola North America and most recently Chief Customer officer, Bolthouse Farms. Regardless of role or company, having a headset of “service” has been foundational to my approach. I believe you need to work hard to understand “their” businesses, “their” challenges and opportunities, “their” issues and concerns … it’s all about “them.” Now I am not naïve to think that you can have a thriving business ONLY by understanding your customers’ headset. As is often the case, a truly successful sales leader IS the balancing point between “the voice of the customer and the voice of the firm,” identifying and often creating solutions that create “wins”
(for both sides of the balancing act.)
I have written a number of essays on this topic, for more information click on the links below:
building brands >
At the center of my career are brands, brands that matter to consumers and shoppers, and brands that have grown over the decades. I have had the pleasure to work on a number of large, growing, expanding brands that have really stood the test of time, ranging from Kleenex, to Breyers Ice Cream, to Coca-Cola, and to Bolthouse Farms. Brands are precious and valuable, and like children, are also fragile and needing of care. Brands aren’t static, they are never in “pause mode” with the consumer or shopper; they are either gaining or losing relevancy in the lives of their consumer franchise.
To see more on this topic see:
innovative leadership >
I have found it very productive to find unique approaches and experiences as I work with teams. I have created experiences ranging from wilderness hikes, to team cooking moments, to battlefield re-enactments, and used readings from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Plutarch, Cicero, Walt Whitman, Aung San Suu Kyi, and beyond, with great result. I have found that taking individuals outside of their normal setting , and using readings outside of their normal “business lexicon” as critical tools to “open up” thinking about the business realities and challenges at hand.
For more writings on this subject see:
disciplined execution >
Tracking performance and more importantly the “drivers” of performance is critical in all business environments. Over my career I have developed a number of key metric “dashboards,” daily/weekly & monthly routines, along with one on one coaching templates that has allowed me to bring “Disciplined Execution” to life in a number of varied business settings.
I have expanded on a number of facets on this topic, to learn more about my views on “Disciplined Execution,” click the links below:
authentic inspiration >
Over my life, I have had the chance to learn lessons of life, leadership and business from a wide variety of inspirations. I work to find ways to share these “stories” in a variety of team settings to help inspire individuals and organizations in their career and life’s journeys. These stories range from significant life lessons that I have learned over my life from my grandmother, my Aunt, and from previous bosses/mentors, to more current experiences that illuminate more current or pressing lessons. Finding the ability to “authentically inspire” an organization is no simple feat for any leader, but is crucial in order to have an engaged organization focused on the right priorities.
The following are a few examples of my writings in this area: